Blog Posts and Articles

Time to go, Raimondo: Nicholas Alahverdian releases 2018 endorsements for upcoming November election

It’s that time again. And Gina Raimondo’s days before losing the election are numbered.

The signs and pins come out.

Your door is knocked upon by seemingly friendly and overexcited volunteers.

You’re caught off guard by the random candidates you’ve seen on tv standing on line at Dunkin’ Donuts (we can still call it that for the time being, right?).

It’s election season. Continue reading Time to go, Raimondo: Nicholas Alahverdian releases 2018 endorsements for upcoming November election

Press Release: Rhode Island DCYF expert calls for House and Senate review of long-delayed legislation

Nicholas Alahverdian legislation would satisfy federal concerns

Continue reading Press Release: Rhode Island DCYF expert calls for House and Senate review of long-delayed legislation

DCYF Report: Recurrent, vile and ominous abuse findings. Again.

Mattiello and Raimondo need to go. Here’s why.

By Nicholas Alahverdian
nicholasalahverdian.com

I have, in collaboration with current and former Representatives Bob DaSilva, Raymond Hull, Michael Marcello, Anastasia Williams and multitudinous others, drafted and submitted bills to ameliorate the seemingly irremediable Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF). We have introduced this legislation year after year. Each bill, year after year, has been held for further study.

Interestingly enough, when I was actively lobbying for this legislation in my 2011 DCYF reform blitz, we had over 40 co-sponsors in the House. Think about that for a second. The House of Representatives has 75 members. There were forty co-sponsors. If those bills were transmitted from committee to the floor for a vote, they would have passed with flying colors. Continue reading DCYF Report: Recurrent, vile and ominous abuse findings. Again.

The Public Current – Nicholas Alahverdian Podcast 2011 | Nicholas Alahverdian

From the archive: Nicholas Alahverdian twice tried his hand at podcasting. His first attempt – a 2011 podcast from NexusGovernment on legislative issues facing the people of . Continue reading The Public Current – Nicholas Alahverdian Podcast 2011 | Nicholas Alahverdian

Nicholas Alahverdian: Carnegie and Wealth

BY Nicholas Alahverdian 

Andrew Carnegie was the epitome of a philanthropist. The Wealth essay (also known as “The Gospel of Wealth”) is reminiscent of the belief that it is ethically advantageous to be poor in a rich nation than it is to be rich in a poor nation. Every age has faced the quarrel of wealth distribution, and the associated decisiveness is no small task to handle. From an ethical perspective, it is imperative that those who are more fortunate assist those in need. Continue reading Nicholas Alahverdian: Carnegie and Wealth

Speech on Armenian Genocide | Nicholas Alahverdian

Nicholas Alahverdian

Your honor the Mayor, City Commissioners, Mr. City Manager, Madam Clerk, ladies and gentlemen:

I’m Nicholas Alahverdian and I am honored to appear before our dynamic mayor and distinguished commissioners once again. I would, for the last time, like to address the events of 1915. From the bottom of my heart, I want to express my gratitude for the proclamation of April 24, 2015 as “Armenian Centennial Remembrance Day”.

Over the past week, I have had the opportunity to reflect, pray, and ponder. My thoughts and prayers have been with those that were slaughtered, killed, or orphaned.

Nicholas Alahverdian, Providence, Rhode Island
Nicholas Alahverdian

During my previous two visits before this honorable commission and your honor the mayor, I appeared here as an impassioned and unlikely descendant of the survivors of this blood-curdling nightmare. 

But now, after much reflection and contemplation, I have come to the conclusion that now – more than ever – we must be cognizant of America’s democratic legacy.

By virtue of April 24th being called, “Centennial Remembrance Day”, I have learned a valuable lesson that I feel is worthy to be shared. 

Our democratic legacy is at risk more than ever. We see equality of Americans at more risk than ever. Deplorable organizations like ISIS and al-qaeda threaten our safety. They threaten our freedom. They threaten our liberty. And we must defend our liberty.

We must not feed the fire of war

That is why we must not feed the fire of war. We must not dwell on the obsession of evil and exacting revenge – but we must insist on defending the future – starting with our families and our neighborhoods – our communities and our churches – and we start right here, in our great city.

It is even seen on is on the great seal of the United States- The eagle holds an olive branch – symbolic of peace – and arrows – symbolic of protection and defense. Which way does the eagle’s head face?

Towards the talons clasping the olive branches. But we have our arrows for times of need.

The Founding Fathers built a strong democratic legacy – a legacy can never forget.

A legacy that leaves with us a great experiment that we see in action – here – right at this very moment. 

From small beginnings, great things come to pass. We declared our independence in a bold fashion.

We formed a Constitution.

We waved the banner of freedom – and those colors of liberty stand as a testament to all those blessed to live in this country. 

And this freedom – this liberty – does not apply just to those born here. All women and men are created equal.

Nicholas Alahverdian, RI, press conference
Nicholas Alahverdian

Our dynamism is what emboldens us

Whether we are citizens of this nation by birth, whether our ancestors braved the waters of the Atlantic on the Mayflower, or whether we just moved to this week – a city known around the globe for dynamism and innovation – last week, we are all Americans. 

And that, from what I can perceive, is what embodies this city – that is what emboldens us, with unique community initiatives right here in our own city.

We are immigrants. We are citizens by birth. We are here to let our dreams come to pass – but above all – we are Americans.
America is still that great experiment. 

We are still defending the right to govern ourselves. We are still kindling the flame of the freedom born in the hearts of our founding fathers.

We are creating new beginnings every day. Kenyans, Japanese, Chinese, German, Turkish, Armenian, Greek, Irish, Italian – and too many more to name – we are creating new beginnings. 

We are welcoming more and more people to participate in the greatest demonstration of democracy that the world has ever seen – and that flame in our hearts will never be extinguished.

Yes there have been wars. Yes there has been blood shed.

But we move forward. And we stand united to progress in an age to prosper.

And what better place to do that than our great city? 

Welcome them here, to our great inheritance. Welcome them here to build a new life, to make a new opportunity for their families.

No matter our heritage, no matter our religious conviction, no matter our nationality – we are – above all – Americans. 

Gratitude

And it is in the American spirit that I wish to express gratitude for Armenian Centennial Remembrance Day. We warn those who threaten our democracy – they understand us perfectly. We try to reach out and understand – but no, they understand us perfectly. 

We will not stand for intolerance, invasion, or ethnocentrism. They are anarchists – that is the role that they are determined to play and so it is our duty to play ours – the Americans that stop the anarchists.

To all else, we say remember this: you are welcome here.  Welcome to America. 

Let us celebrate that great spirit of freedom right here. No more wars. No more. Let’s make this place the home of those who harness the power of peace and say to all of our brothers and sisters: Welcome to our great city. 

About Nicholas Alahverdian

Nicholas Alahverdian is a Harvard-educated scholar and political activist. As an adolescent, Nicholas survived torture and abuse inflicted upon him by the Rhode Island government under the direct orders of a chief judge and a governor following his political activism against them while Alahverdian was an employee of the Rhode Island House of Representatives.

Nicholas was sent to two facilities far from New England that had extensive records of torture, abuse, and negligence. He was forced to remain in these abusive facilities until his 18th birthday and was not allowed to contact anyone, go to school, or prepare for adulthood. Alahverdian survived the torture, sued his abusers, settled in court, and studied at Harvard University.

The primary scholarly focus of Nicholas Alahverdian is the intersection of philology, rhetoric, and politics. He has been featured in The Providence Journal, NPR, BBC, NBC, CBS, and ABC News as well as The Buddy Cianci Show, The Boston Globe and countless other media entities.

Nicholas Alahverdian, Harvard

About Nicholas Alahverdian

Nicholas Alahverdian, Seamus Heaney, Nobel Prize, Harvard
Seamus Heaney and Nicholas Alahverdian

Visit https://www.nicholasalahverdian.com/

Nicholas Alahverdian is a Harvard-educated scholar and political activist. As an adolescent, Nicholas survived torture and abuse inflicted upon him by the Rhode Island government under the direct orders of a chief judge and a governor following his political activism against them while Alahverdian was an employee of the Rhode Island House of Representatives.

Nicholas Alahverdian, Providence, https://www.nicholasalahverdian.com
Nicholas Alahverdian

Nicholas was sent to two facilities far from New England that had extensive records of torture, abuse, and negligence. He was forced to remain in these abusive facilities until his 18th birthday and was not allowed to contact anyone, go to school, or prepare for adulthood.

Alahverdian survived the torture, sued his abusers, settled in court, and studied at Harvard University.

The primary scholarly focus of Nicholas Alahverdian is the intersection of philology, rhetoric, and politics. He has been featured in The Providence Journal, NPR, BBC, NBC, CBS, and ABC News as well as The Buddy Cianci Show, The Boston Globe and countless other media entities.

The Nicholas Alahverdian Torture Case: Governor Chafee Meeting and Press Conference

Following a meeting with the Governor’s Office, Nicholas Alahverdian will hold a brief press conference on Friday, April 8, 2011 at 3 p.m. at the State House Rotunda to discuss the details of his federal lawsuit against DCYF and take questions about his experiences of abuse and negligence, substantiated by state and federal authorities (see links to news stories), in Rhode Island, Nebraska, and Florida group homes and treatment facilities.

Nicholas Alahverdian was exiled from the State of Rhode Island by the Department of Children, Youth and Families after illuminating the deficiencies at facilities monitored by them to legislators of the Rhode Island General Assembly. At the time, he was an employee of the Rhode Island House of Representatives. When Nicholas was exiled, he began to be tortured in both facilities which had long records of violence and maltreatment against patients, with both facilities undergoing significant state investigations with courts issuing grand jury indictments and orders to halt admissions. Nevertheless, Alahverdian was banished to these facilities.
Nicholas Alahverdian, RI, Lincoln Chafee
Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee and Nicholas Alahverdian

Nicholas Alahverdian was sent to one facility in Nebraska, the Boys Town Residential Treatment Center; and one in Florida, Manatee Palms Youth Services (owned by Premier Behavioral Solutions, a subsidiary of the nationally troubled Psychiatric Solutions, recently purchased by Universal Health Services). Both were shut down by their respective state regulatory agencies for violations of federal and state regulations, including abuse and negligence.

In Florida, Nicholas Alahverdian was raped by a staff member who admitted to the crime and was later imprisoned (see attached documents). Also, the for-profit Florida facility has been shut down in recent years for hiring convicted felons and retaining them, not providing sufficient staff, and hiring abusive people, most of whom were directly out of high school.

Alahverdian will also discuss legislation going before the House Judiciary Committee on April 12, 2011 to end out-of-state placements and enhance the Rhode Island Children’s Bill of Rights, sponsored by Rep. Michael Marcello and Rep. Bob DaSilva. There will be a large rally on Tuesday the 12th at 3 p.m. (press advisory to be sent later today/Monday) before the bills go before the House Judiciary Committee at the rise of the House (typically around 4:30).

 

EVENT DETAILS
    WHO: NexusGovernment, Nicholas Alahverdian
    WHAT: Press Conference on lawsuit, DCYF reform legislation
    WHEN: Friday, April 8 at 3 p.m.
    WHERE: Rhode Island State House Rotunda
Nicholas Alahverdian in 2010

The Rhode Island Government could learn a thing or two from Penn State

By Nicholas Alahverdian

Originally published in November 2011

Nicholas Alahverdian
Nicholas Alahverdian

Earlier this month, in a remarkable demonstration of accountability, the Penn State Board of Trustees dismissed a member of the coaching staff who committed sexual assault upon a child, as well as his colleagues who assisted in the subsequent coverup. Perhaps the most exalted figure in college football, head coach Joe Paterno, was ousted as a result of his failure to report the rape, which allegedly occurred in March of 2002.

Americans have long worshiped idols crafted of the Paterno personality. The fall of one of America’s great athletic icons angered many fans and students. However, this signified deliberate action taken by a nationally recognized university to attempt to right the wrongs of a dishonorable collegiate athletic administration.

Child abuse is, unfortunately, not a rare occurrence. However, because the abuse and subsequent coverup was perpetrated by individuals employed by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the swift, conscious firings were imperative and justified. The abuse became international news overnight, which begs this question: is a public discussion of abuse and coverup by state employees only required when a nationally-ranked football team is involved?

In 2002, I was in the care and custody of the Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth and Families. At the same time, I was working at the Rhode Island House of Representatives as a legislative aide. I had daily contact with then-Speaker John Harwood, and many other representatives and senators. I also had daily contact with employees of group homes and shelters that assaulted and tortured me on a daily basis. I believe that working for the State of Rhode Island and simultaneously being in the care of the State is unprecedented in Rhode Island history.

As legislators listened to the horrors that plagued my existence on a daily basis, they began to interrogate the Department. State Rep. Brian Coogan went to the chambers of Family Court Chief Judge Jeremiah S. Jeremiah and volunteered to adopt me. Rep. Joanne Giannini pressured Department heads to allow me to be placed in a safe placement. Unfortunately, day after day, I was in the night-to-night program, life on the road, a purely jumbled existence, with no real home, being transferred from shelter to shelter and several public schools a week, and nightly beatings and even rapes from fellow foster children and the employees hired to take care of us. When Donald L. Carcieri was campaigning for Governor in 2001, I even confided to him the assaults, which he did not report.

So let’s see if I’ve got this straight: a coach on a state football team rich with legacy and tradition takes in foster children and is found to be raping them in his spare time. Penn State’s Board of Trustees steps in, takes action, the responsible individuals are prosecuted, an interim president is appointed, and the Governor apologizes to the family involved. I, and many other youth who grew up in state care, could only wish for such leadership.

When I decided to temporarily pause my studies in literature and go public in February 2011 with the abuse and negligence that I suffered until 2005 when I turned 18, I expected at the very least an apology. Perhaps a “we could have done better.” Ideally, Governor Chafee would endorse my proposed legislation that would enhance the children’s bill of rights and prohibit the shipment of children out of state if there was an appropriate placement in state. But none of that happened. Chafee didn’t meet with me, 2 or 3 committee members would be present at hearings, and the Rhode Island Attorney General is defending those (in a civil lawsuit) guilty of abuse instead of prosecuting them.

Furthermore, I was considered a burden to the legislative process that I had once seen as my only hope. Speaker Fox, the man who hired me even before he was Chair of the Finance Committee, never met with me. Rarely was I asked by representatives or senators what my experiences were. I was shutdown at a committee hearing by the chair for speaking for more than ten minutes, and my bills never made it out of committee. My decision to publicly expose the wrongs I suffered in order to right the future was largely ignored. Most discouraging, the Rhode Island Attorney General hasn’t even launched a criminal investigation into my suffering. Now, as a Harvard undergraduate, I pour my energy into scholarship, yet there is a ubiquitous, nagging feeling of dismay and distrust in a system that failed me and hundreds of other children.

In stark contrast to the current course of action taken by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the Penn State Board of Trustees, the arrogant and provincial legislative, judicial, and executive bodies of Rhode Island government have turned a deaf ear to abuse that occurred a decade ago. The Penn State abuse scandal has proven that even the greatest of charming figures, athletic or political, can be held responsible. If only Rhode Island would be so courageous to take action and lead by example. Let us not be ungovernable.

Nicholas Alahverdian is a Harvard scholar with a primary research focus on the intersection of philology, rhetoric, and politics. 

A survivor tells the story of kid-dumping

Click here for the entire Nicholas Alahverdian News Archive

A survivor tells the story of kid dumping

By Bob Kerr

24 November 2002

The Providence Journal

© 2002 Providence Journal/Evening Bulletin. All Rights Reserved.

As Nicholas Alahverdian and I talked, he took in the view of the Rhode Island State House from The Journal cafeteria.

“You don’t know how much I love going in that building,” he says.

He loves the excitement of it, the reporters and the politicians. He’s been part of it. He’s worked for his state representative. He’s testified at hearings.

He wants to be a politician. And a lawyer. And a journalist.

Don’t bet against him hitting the career trifecta. He’s already been tested in ways few of us will ever know.

“I don’t think I’ve been harmed at all,” he says. “I think it’s all part of a plan that’s been assigned to me for upcoming events.”

He talks about the dark, uncertain part of his life as “boot camp.” It has taught him things and prepared him.

He’s 15, smart and articulate and almost painfully polite. He introduces himself with a handshake. He even said it was an honor to meet some of the people here at The Journal. He reads the newspaper. When he opens his backpack, a copy of David McCulloch’s biography of John Adams is the first thing he takes out.

He speaks from the other side of a lot of hard, cold statistics. He’s a kid caught in a cruel social shuffle that has left him with a heavy load of uncertainty when he desperately needs something solid and reliable.

His insistence on being all that he can be is remarkable.

After we talked Thursday afternoon, he headed for the bus stop and a ride to his latest group home in Providence.

At a time when he should have no concerns more pressing than homework and maybe the girl who sits two rows over in his Spanish class, he is forced to live his life in bits and pieces, never knowing how long he will be living or going to school in the same place.

There was a point in Nicholas Alahverdian’s nomadic life, when the Rhode Island social service system put him in a foster home in North Smithfield. It was probably the best experience he’s had, the closest he’s come to his ideal of home and family.

“I can’t tell you how loving this family was – how they accepted me into their home. They were so caring.”

He stayed there for two days. That’s all he was scheduled for. Then he went home to his real family for the Christmas holidays at the end of 1999.

Then he returned to a shelter in Woonsocket.

“It was decent for someone my age,” he says of the shelter. “There were caring people there. There were activities set up for us each night.”

As we talk, Nicholas Alahverdian sorts through a stack of notes he’s taken on his life so far. There are also copies of school grades and newspaper stories I wrote about his stepfather, a popular local performer.

It is amazing how matter-of-fact he is about it, as if every 15-year-old goes through this kind of jolting, disjointed life in which faceless people are making the calls on where he will live and where he will learn. He sorts through his papers, tells his stories and provides a stunning personal voice for all the stories about kids in Rhode Island who get moved around like pieces on a real-life board game.

Nicholas Alahverdian has been in night-to-night placement under the Department of Children Youth and Families (DCYF). It is often little more than a couch to sleep on for the night, followed by a day of wondering where the next couch will be.

“It’s scary ridiculously scary,” he says. “There are punks in there, they took my sneakers, my clothing. I was threatened, assaulted. I saw kids hit each other with hockey sticks.

“You wake up in the morning at 5:30 and you go the DCYF building and wait to see where you’re going to go the next night.

“You’re not in school and I love school. You’re not associating with friends. You’re not treated decently. And how can your parents know where you are?”

In one sense, he knows it has to be this way. In another, he rails against the injustice of it and the self-defeating madness of dumping kids in often strange and frightening places.

The list of his stops on what seems a journey with no real destination is daunting. It winds through Coventry, Woonsocket, North Providence, Cranston, Providence, Narragansett and points in between. He has been to a bunch of schools, some of which insulted his intelligence with course work and materials geared to children 5 or 6 years younger. He remembers being assigned the book The Pokey Little Puppy when it seemed like something from his distant past.

Nicholas Alahverdian once addressed the Cranston School Committee on how he felt he was being unfairly judged on his past in his classroom assignment.

Now, he is attending Hope High School where he’s on the debate team. He’s living in a group home in Providence which he considers one of the better ones he’s been in.

“It’s like a challenge at Hope,” he says, “a challenge to help yourself learn.”

And through it all, he remains this delightful survivor who seems to have held on to a real sense of who he is and what he wants to be, despite the efforts of the state of Rhode Island to keep him forever on the move.

There is a great temptation to listen to his story and thoroughly enjoy his company and then ask him something like “How the hell have you gotten through all this with so much hope and determination?”

We’ll hear from him somewhere down the road. He says all that training he received in his own personal “boot camp” has gotten him ready. It’s gotten him ready for war.

“It’s a war with people who are trying to destroy kids’ lives,” says my new friend Nicholas Alahverdian.